Policy on the Use of University Facilities and Grounds

August 16, 2018


This policy is intended to accompany the University of Nebraska Board of Regents Policy regarding the commitment to free expression, guide of facilities use, and education (RP-6.4.10 and provide guidance for the scheduling and conduct of events and activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) which are not academic activities, such as regularly scheduled courses and seminars under the aegis of the Registrar’s Office. This Policy applies to all UNL buildings, facilities, grounds, and spaces owned or controlled by the University (hereafter referred to collectively as “property”) and extends to members of the academic community, including guests of the University, and members of the general public lawfully present on University premises.

Policy Statement

University resources and its land and buildings are to be applied first and foremost to its mission of teaching, research and public service, and therefore, such University properties are primarily dedicated to this mission, which encompasses all academic activities, student life, intercollegiate athletics, and the administrative functions that support this mission. These properties are not generally open and available to the public—they are provided to and by the University, in order that it might carry out its educational charge.

While UNL property is not open to unrestricted public access, many spaces are available for use by faculty and staff, students, student groups, and members of the public, with appropriate approval and when scheduled in advance (see Procedures below).

All users of University property assume responsibility to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies and assume responsibility for fees and charges applicable to associated events and activities. All persons on UNL property are required to comply with the instructions of a properly identified University official or member of UNLPD. Persons engaging in actions that do not comply with applicable laws, regulations, or policies shall be subject to disciplinary measures, including separation from the University, and also to charges of violation of the law.

An individual may not materially disrupt activities conducted within the context of the University’s mission. The University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression, in accordance with the law, in order to ensure that the ordinary activities of the University are not disrupted. Such regulations must be narrowly tailored to serve significant, viewpoint-neutral interests, and cannot substantially burden more speech than necessary to protect the University’s interest.

Spaces such as classrooms, where teaching takes place; or labs where research is conducted; or offices where administrative business is carried out, are not freely open to the public. There are, however, spaces within UNL’s campus that may be opened to both members of the University community and the public for a variety of purposes, including speech and expression.

Campus spaces have been designated as:

Designated Public Forums
These are places the campus designates as open for expressive applications to all or part of the campus community, or the community at large. Reasonable time, place and manner restrictions may be implemented in a viewpoint or content-neutral application. UNL has identified Memorial Plaza to the north of the Nebraska Union and Legacy Plaza to the south of the Nebraska East Union as the only designated public forums on campus.
Limited Public Forums
These are places (such as a concert hall), events (such as a student panel discussion on Literature of the Plains), or other avenues for expression (such as an electronic bulletin board), which can be designated for use by a particular group and limited to particular topics or types of speech, as long as the limitations are reasonable and viewpoint-neutral.
Non-Public Forums
All places and resources not otherwise categorized as Designated Public Forums and Limited Public Forums. In none of these instances may the University of Nebraska-Lincoln implement rules or processes which differentiate use of properties or resources, or disciplinary outcomes, based upon the viewpoint of the user.

Outdoor Spaces

While outdoor spaces are broadly available only to members of the campus community for events and activities, including spontaneous peaceful and nondisruptive expressions, scheduling in advance is recommended. Certain outdoor spaces have been identified as either a designated public forum or limited public forum where events may be hosted (See corresponding map). Use of all limited public forum outdoor spaces by groups require the completion and approval of the reservation request and all necessary paperwork (see Procedures below).

Within designated public forum space only, completion of the information and request form is not required for groups wishing to use the space. However, groups wishing to host events in these spaces are encouraged to make a formal reservation, complete the required paperwork, and have a formal, approved reservations as groups with approved reservations will be given preference in these spaces.

The outdoor spaces so designated are identified in this campus map. Procedures to request outdoor space is contain below.

Football Game Day Stadium Halo

The university has a policy regarding the sale of merchandise and distribution of informational or promotional materials on football game days. This policy can be referenced on the Business and Finance website and only applies to these specific game days.


Prior Scheduling is required for events and activities that occur within limited or nonpublic forum spaces and are encouraged for designated public forum spaces. Scheduling includes making a reservation by completing the reservation request and all necessary paperwork. To begin the scheduling process, contact the units set forth below for the following locations:

Athletic Department

Spaces Contact Info
All intercollegiate indoor and outdoor facilities 402-472-1000

Campus Recreation

Spaces Contact Info
All indoor and outdoor campus recreation facilities 402-472-3467

Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts

Spaces Contact Info
Kimball Recital Hall 402-472-0871
Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center 402-472-9100

Lied Center for Performing Arts

Spaces Contact Info
Please contact for details 402-472-4715

Nebraska Alumni Association

Spaces Contact Info
  • Innovation Campus Facilities
  • Wick Alumni Center
  • Champions Center

Nebraska Unions

Spaces Contact Info
  • Nebraska Union
  • Nebraska East Union
  • Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center
402-472- 8167

Sheldon Museum of Art

Spaces Contact Info
Please contact for details 402-472-1170

University Housing Facilities

Spaces Contact Info
  • All University Housing Facilities
  • Willa Cather Dining Complex

University Registrar

Spaces Contact Info
Indoor Academic Spaces 402-472-8008

Van Brunt Visitors Center

Spaces Contact Info
Please contact for details 402-472-9800

Recognized Student Organizations and non-University individuals/groups, collaborating together to host an event may be given permission to use specific property through a facilities usage agreement under terms and conditions that protect the University’s interests. Consistent with Board of Regents Policy (RP-136): It should be made clear to the academic and larger communities that sponsorship of events and speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views or actions by either the sponsoring group or the University.

UNL reserves the right to:

  1. Give preference to academic, student life, and intercollegiate athletics programs of the University, and Recognized Student Organizations and other events sponsored by the University.
  2. Make substitutions and/or cancel arrangements.
  3. Review, specify, and restrict any advertising, sales transactions, or product distribution.

The University may deny a request to reserve space for an event or activity if:

  1. The applicant has not completed a reservation request and all necessary paperwork.
  2. The request to reserve space contains a material misrepresentation or materially false statement.
  3. The request is not received sufficiently in advance of the proposed event or activity to permit necessary evaluation and to determine the appropriate location.
  4. The use or activity intended by the request is prohibited by law or proposes behaviors or conduct proscribed in the first section of this Policy or present an unreasonable health or safety danger.
  5. The applicant has damaged University property in the past, and/or has not paid for repairs, or has otherwise been in violation of this Policy and its procedures.
  6. The request to use University property conflicts with a preexisting reservation.

Student Union Administration is the clearinghouse for requests for Designated Public Forums and has decision-making authority for requests. If an application is denied, appeals may be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance within 5 business days of the denial where a review will be conducted, and decision rendered. All decisions by the Vice Chancellor are final.

Note - This policy is subject to change upon the University of Nebraska system-wide facility use policy development (August 2018).

Outdoor Event Space Maps